Developing My Portfolio (2017)

The Goal

My portfolio redesign seemed to be of utmost importance after moving to Austin Tx.  I was thinking “new city, new style” and furthermore had a lot of data architectural ideas that would be impossible to showcase on a regular old curriculum vitae.

I had the following criteria for this new webCV of mine:

  1. This project must be completed in under a week (50 hours)
  2. The domain name needs to be badass
  3. The layout & branding needs to be elegant but minimal
  4. It must work flawlessly on Mobile and Desktop devices
  5. It must adequately showcase my skills and projects

 

The Process

I started development on June 21st 2017 and wanted to use this portfolio for job submissions no later than the 28th. this gave me a little under a week to get the site built and tested.  It's the 23rd now and I've already started adding content, so I'm feeling good about my time management.

calendercalender

     So I started by searching for new domains  and found a super cheap 99¢ deal for .world domains at NameCheap.com. By my rational, first name + world = badass, So........ Sheel.world was born!

2. The domain name needs to be badass ✅

 

     Now that I've got a domain, its time to start designing something conceptual. I’ll need to go through an entire iteration of the design process, but I'll definitely need to make some tweaks in the interest of time.

 

Should you prototype if you can code?

     The short answer is YES! Prototyping as a general term should be included in every project. Aside from showing off with my slick UI/UX workflow, I’ve found that investing some time in data architecture and wireframing can significantly speed up development.  As a designer, I think about impressionable placement and color schemes TOO MUCH. It's important for me to set things straight organizationally before any styling is done. I'm a believer in HTML prototypes and am not fond of paper prototyping unless used to mind map or get approval from employers/teammates. In this case, the only approval needed is my own so I can go without paper prototyping. I'll still need to create a dataflow diagram and a freehand wireframe to mentally clear up what needs to be include and where.

     Lastly I needed the final piece of elegance that would bring the site together, some good quality branding. Any given week, I generally try to have a couple pieces of art in the works, and this week was no different. It happened to be an abstract, flying, dragon, snake, creature towering over Walnut Creek California.  In the interest of time, and the fact that snakes have an unwarranted bad reputation these days (Thanks J. K. Rowling) I went with it and threw together some quick vector graphics to complete the branding.

3. The layout and branding needs to be elegant but minimal✅

 

When to use a CMS?

     I'll need to pick a Content Management Systems (CMS) next. You might wonder why I’d choose to use a CMS and not write my own. My short answer is that I prefer using a CMS for Blog-like, single administrator, websites.  I'd say I'f you're trying to launch your next big SaaS webapp or high traffic Ecommerce business then you should definitely steer clear of software like WordPress or Drupal. With that being said, there is a time and place for such a tool, and that time for me is now. There are too many obvious benefits to open source CMS solutions and their communities. My most enjoyable working experiences come from using a tool or combination of tools to automate a task or series of tasks. In that sense I’m much more of a scripter than a coder. I’ve gotten very familiar as a freelance web developer, with PHP frameworks such as Drupal, WordPress, and Magento. I decided to go with wordpress and use the Semplice template just because I'm familiar with it. Obviously, I had to overhaul the Javascript and CSS to fit my needs (adding movement, easing, loading fades, custom viewport CSS, etc) but after it all came together I’m pretty proud about the final visuals and the browser size scalability of this portfolio!

4. It must work flawlessly on Mobile and Desktop devices ✅

 

     In my Ideating phase I wrote down all my previous projects that would be relevant for this portfolio, and now that I'm nearly done I still feel like something is missing. I need to add something new but also functional. I’m a huge fan of D3.js aka Data Driven Documents, and seeing as I’ll be working as a UI/UX developer It made sense to build some JSON driven, interactive, web experiences.  The breadth of my computer skills are a relevant but hard topic to display via CV so using d3.tree, I’ve created an interactive chart of my computer skills.  Its vector generated and resizes for mobile platforms. Click on the nodes below and check out my skills!

**Note** I've spent 100+ hours studying each of the skills listed above

5. It must adequately showcase my skills and projects ✅

 

footer1footer1
end calanderend calander

     So it's 10pm on the 28th and although I am pretty much done, I definitely underestimated how much time was needed to finish this portfolio.  I’ve already used more than 50 hours so this one looks like a fail.

1. This project must be completed in under a week (50 hours) ⛔

But you live and learn right? I’ll definitely need to improve at estimating timelines, but worst case scenario I’ll have a badass portfolio to use starting next week 😁 I’m STOKED! Cheers!